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W. Windsor To Vote on Sewer Project

Grants Cover Majority Costs; Residents to Repay $750K Loan

West Windsor — The cost of the estimated $2.1 million construction of a sewer line through the village of Brownsville from the Ascutney Mountain Resort is expected to be paid through a combination of state grants and a $750,000 loan to be paid back by residents over 20 years.

The amount borrowed would be borne by property taxpayers, the Selectboard said, and would cost the average West Windsor property owner $59 per year, coupled with an anticipated $1.35 million in grants, nearly 65 percent of the total cost of the project, Selectboard Chairman Glenn Seward said Monday.

Town officials say a sewer line would improve the chances of economic development in the village, which has become a priority with the closing of the ski resort in 2010.

Residents will vote on the $2.1 million bond May 6 with informational meetings scheduled at town hall on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 9 a.m.

“Receiving this much grant funding is rare in this economic climate and presents us with an extraordinary opportunity to address a multitude of problems with very little out-of-pocket costs,” the Selectboard said in an explanatory statement on the project.

In March, the town announced it had received a $750,000 grant from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and more recently it received preliminary approval for an additional $141,500 from the same agency.

Another $460,000 grant from state Department of Environmental Conservation is pending approval from the Legislature, the Selectboard said.

“The state has been extremely generous,” Seward said. “I think they recognize the issues we have and want to help us.” If voters approve the bond, Seward said the town would finish the engineering and permitting process this year and begin construction in the spring of 2015. Most of the grant money must be expended before the end of 2015 or the town would lose it, Seward said.

Chief among the problems the line would rectify is failing septic systems in the village that has led to pollution problems in Mill Brook and the potential for contaminating drinking water from nearby wells.

The new line would connect with the existing sewer system at the ski resort and include pump stations and connections. In February, the town completed its purchase of the sewer system at the shuttered resort.

That system also serves a hotel and homes on the mountain.

The line would extend from the resort entrance on Route 44 down through the village and up Brownsville-Hartland Road. It would connect to the Albert Bridge School, Blood Library, town hall and West Windsor Volunteer Fire Department. Septic systems at those locations will need to be upgraded or repaired soon, at significant costs, the board said.

The fire department lost its leach field in Tropical Storm Irene and now makes use of a temporary holding tank.

From the ski resort, the projected sewer line would continue along Route 44 to the wastewater treatment plant in Windsor.

With the grants, the Selectboard said taxpayers would be paying for about 85 percent of the public portion of the project, estimated at $882,000 and none of the private portion of $1.2 million.

All operation and maintenance costs would be paid by the users.

Voting on the bond is from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., May 6, in Story Memorial Hall.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@ gmail.com.